If you’re looking for an alternative to overcrowded airports and all-inclusive fanfare, it may be time to skip your go-to getaways (sorry, St. Barts and Tuscany) in favour of the lesser-known corners of the world. Yes, carefully curated luxury experiences can thrive in the middle of nowhere, without a bustling city, car, or even other person in sight. It might take more than one plane ride, an off-road drive or even a boat to get there, but once you do, these eight off-the-beaten-path hotels will make the travel time inconsequential.
Qasr Al Sarab Desert Resort
Located in the Empty Quarter, the world’s largest uninterrupted sand mass, Qasr Al Sarab emerges from the rolling dunes like a mirage. A two-hour drive from Abu Dhabi leads to this luxury oasis in the middle of an untouched desert, set against a multi-coloured sky. Qasr Al Sarab thrives in its proximity to nothingness- though inside its walls, there’s plenty for guests to enjoy, including private pools, luxury villas, five restaurants and a fully equipped spa with a Moroccan hammam. Activities include camel treks, sandboarding, and dune drives in 4x4s. Villas come with private butlers and pools, while other accommodations offer glimpses of dunes and gardens.
The Singular Patagonia
Ever wondered what it’s like to sleep at the edge of the earth? At the Singular Patagonia, you’ll have the chance to find out. After a 3.5-hour flight from Santiago, Chile, to Punta Arenas, a 2.5-hour drive on Ruta Del Fin Del Mundo (translation: “road to the end of the world”) leads to the property’s location in Patagonia’s uninhabited southern coast. Once a cold-storage warehouse for meats and other goods, the hotel today is a far cry from its industrial roots, with 57 luxury guest rooms and suites that have panoramic glass walls that overlook the crystalline Last Hope Sound. Guests can choose from several all-inclusive excursions to explore, including kayaking, bird-watching, and hiking in the nearby national park, Torres del Paine. At Singular, it’s also perfectly fine- and very easy- to do nothing at all. Sunset views from the spa provide the ultimate realisation of the vast stillness surrounding guests.
Southern Ocean Lodge
A 20-minute flight from South Australia’s capital city, Adelaide, transports travellers to a “zoo without fences”: Kangaroo Island. Here, Southern Ocean Lodge sits atop limestone cliffs that provide panoramic views of the destination’s most exotic wildlife, including kangaroos, koalas, echidnas and Australian sea lions. The 21-suite property blurs the line between nature and indoor comfort, with glass-walled bathrooms and outdoor terraces. The secluded Southern Spa allows guests to choose two different spa journeys that highlight the island’s natural beauty products like lavender, eucalyptus, Ligurian honey and sea salts during their sensory therapies.
Uxua Casa Hotel & Spa
If you’ve heard of Brazil’s sleepy fishing village Trancoso, you know it’s a far cry from the frenetic pace that’s come to symbolise places like Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. And like all good escapes, you’ll have to work to get there. Fly from São Paulo, Rio, or Salvador to Porto Seguro, then make the 90-minute drive to this Bahia beach escape, where a collection of what was once fishermen’s homes has been transformed into 12 colourful casas at the Uxua Casa Hotel & Spa. Located in the car-free main square, called the quadrado, Uxua is the brainchild of Wilbert Das- the former creative director of Diesel- and was built in collaboration with local artisans. The rustic elegance of the property, from the recycled furnishings in the guestrooms to a mezzanine and tiered garden, make Uxua a favourite for celebs like Solange Knowles and Anderson Cooper.
An eco-luxury Caribbean hideaway on the edge of a cliff is ready for its grand entrance again after Hurricane Maria. Secret Bay rewards it guests after a flight into Dominica’s remote airport with an oasis in the middle of a verdant rain forest. Each of Secret Bay’s six villas has its own private plunge pool, and the new, two-story Ti-Fèy Villa is a 1,356-square-foot retreat with one bedroom and two bathrooms, a gourmet kitchen, floor-to-ceiling glass doors, an outdoor rain shower, a private pool and a plethora of modern amenities. Another new addition, Zing Zing restaurant, will offer guests seasonal dishes based solely on their preferences.
This 19th-century Moroccan kasbah nestled between the Atlas Mountains and Sahara Desert beckons guests to get lost between its palm groves and almond trees. The 14-room hideaway can be reached by a 45-minute plane ride from Marrakech, or, a scenic four-hour drive through the Atlas Mountains. Once you arrive at Dar Ahlam, you’ll be whisked through lantern-lit hallways to your room or the main salon to enjoy views of the pool and garden. Guests can dine by candlelight outdoors in their secret garden nook, or even in the desert—and no two meals are ever the same. A team of Parisian entrepreneurs led by Thierry Teyssier have ensured the suites include a bit of modern and classic design, including silk drapes and local Berber touches.
Well known for its bucolic charm and vineyard-dotted fields, Tuscany has plenty of options for guests to get lost in its hillsides and away from city life. To the southwest of the charming town of Montalcino, climb nearly 1,000 feet above sea level on 2,000 acres of land to become the king or queen of your own castle at the famed Frescobaldi family’s newest estate: Castelgiocondo. Beginning in February, guests will be able to indulge with an overnight stay at this medieval castle surrounded by jaw-dropping Tuscan countryside with a glass of the wine producer’s iconic Brunello in hand. Forget a bustling town anywhere nearby- you won’t find it. Instead, what you’ll get is Castelgiocondo’s intimate spa with views of vineyards, classic Tuscan cuisine from a private chef and the ability to relax in one of the seven classically designed rooms with, you guessed it, more wine.
Fogo Island Inn
Located on a remote island in Newfoundland, Canada, Fogo Island Inn requires more than a little bit of patience to reach. After arriving from Halifax or St. John’s at Gander Airport, visitors drive one hour to catch a 45-minute ferry ride to Fogo Island. Upon arrival, every part of the 29-suite hotel immerses visitors into the natural environment, including floor-to-ceiling windows with incredible views of the sea, and a sponsorship programme that matches guests with locals to learn more about the area’s cuisine. Amenities include a 37-seat cinema, a library and rooftop hot tubs. The inn is the passion project of Canadian-born Zita Cobb, and it showcases extraordinary feats like angled stilts that support the property and solar thermal panels that provide hot water for in-floor heating and kitchen equipment.